I had a frustrating experience a while back. I called a company with which I regularly do business, spoke to a person whose job is to provide customers with accurate information, and asked her a pretty basic question, which she promptly and cheerfully answered. But the answer she gave me, as I soon discovered, was wrong. Not slightly wrong, very wrong. I ended up spending a whole day correcting mistakes that would have been prevented if she had given me the correct information.
When it comes to our spiritual lives, misinformation is disastrous. Paul warned, “See to it that no one takes you captive through philosophy and empty deception, according to the tradition of men, according to the elementary principles of the world, rather than according to Christ” (Colossians 2:8). We cannot reach our way up to God through philosophy. But God has reached down to us in Jesus, showing us the way to fellowship with Him. The gospel of Christ is “the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes” (Romans 1:16). Yet we also have to guard against perversions of the gospel itself, the results of human mishandling of the message, whether malicious or just careless (see Galatians 1:6-8; 2 Peter 3:14-17).
The antidote is diligent study and application of God’s word (2 Timothy 2:15; James 1:21-25). It is truth (John 17:17); knowing and abiding in that truth makes us free (John 8:31-32).